Slavery and its after-effects | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slavery and its after-effects

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 6:18 AM

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Douglas Blackmon, a former Arkansan, was in Little Rock for a talk Friday at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

He talked of the roots and findings of his book, "Slavery by Another Name," and, with panelists, engaged some of the racial issues that continue to vex us.

John Brummett attended the talk and received the message about the virtual slavery that continued in the South long after the Civil War.

To read “Slavery by Another Name” and ponder its lingering damage is to understand better why affirmative action had its place. It is to understand better the pervasive distrust among African-Americans for law enforcement.

Ancestry, cultural heritage — none of us, including today’s African-Americans, can altogether escape ours.

Yes, the issue of reparations arose. Blackmon punted it, but Pulaski Juvenile Judge Wiley Branton Jr., son of the late great civil rights lawyer, tackled it as a panelist.

For the government to hand out money to all black people today for yesterday’s inhumanity would be impractical and perhaps foolhardy, Branton said. But there ought to be some way, he argued, to direct money generally and institutionally to offer targeted help to today’s African-Americans to try to mitigate, in a general way, their inherited disadvantages.

Special help for those who are black — in their woeful inner cities, in the colleges predominantly of their color, in their persistent absence of opportunity — continues to be a national moral imperative.

Don’t think so? Scoff? Don’t we now have an African-American president?

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